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Amazon Pushes POD Up a Creek

Although I had already planned to blog about it when I got home from work today , and I’m sure most of you have heard about it by now, per Veinglory’s request I’d like to voice a bit of my outrage about Amazon’s recent approach to Publish America to use Booksurge as a printing source or else! Or else what? Or else the BUY buttons would be removed from the PA books on Amazon.com and the books would only be available through third party sellers. And guess what, folks? Those buttons have already been removed! Check out this book that was written by PublishAmerica’s own CEO.

Based on their press release, it sounds like PublishAmerica is backing down. They plan to work closer with other distributors and with B&N to combat the issue. Remember a few weeks ago when Starbucks closed for three hours to retrain employees, and all the other indie coffee shops jumped at the chance to gain that business? Let’s hope that B&N comes up with a plan and is ready to step up to the plate!

Although not much has been released as of yet, I’m sure other POD Publishers will be approached by Amazon soon. Who knows what this means for Lulu, but keep your eye on this Lulu forum to find out. Based on a quote, it seems that Bob Young has already been approached. Here’s the quote from the forum…

Publishers will “have to abide by Amazon’s pricing,” said Bob Young, CEO of Lulu Inc, a print-on-demand publisher based in Raleigh, N.C. Mr. Young said he believed BookSurge’s prices to be “slightly higher” than other printers. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on that issue. “A significant number of our authors do request for their books to be available on Amazon,” said Mr. Young, who hasn’t yet decided whether he will agree to Amazon’s terms.

For someone like me, who uses Amazon almost everyday as a informational book source for work, and is also a POD author with a book on Amazon, this news really saddens me. It reminds me of a move another billion dollar company made a few years ago. It was all the rage on the internet and made lots of money while making lots of shoppers happy. Then, it started raising it’s pricing and making lots of rules, tightening the grasp it already had on the www market share. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s called Ebay.

It’s sad that a POD author’s most valuable online marketing tool, someone we probably thought was a friend to our industry, would choose to do this. So what do we do now? Check out Angela Hoy’s article on the subject if you’d like Amazon’s contact information to send a letter and voice your own concern to them. Good luck though! Amazon’s quite known for not really listening to its consumers. Who knows? Maybe Amazon will become a fad and another site will take over as the ever-growing internet continues to change. I’ve already tried to use B&N and Abebooks a bit more these days for purchases. And I suggest you do the same!

And hey, while you are looking for an outlet to support, try your local bookstore. You know… That building on the corner with bookshelves filled with books. There’s a person standing in it to help. You take the book off the shelf and walk up to a cash register. You reach in your wallet or purse for cash, a credit card, or a check book. That’s right! You have to GO to the bookstore. The postman doesn’t bring the book to you. While you are there, if you are a POD author, take a copy of your book with you and put it in the hands of the manager or community relations manager. Don’t be pushy! As a matter of fact, thank them for being there. Tell them your book is a thank you gift even and that you’d appreciate their support in return. I’ve always thought Amazon might end up bringing about the demise of the brick-and-mortar bookstore, but let’s NOT let it monopolize the POD industry too.


One Response to “Amazon Pushes POD Up a Creek”

  1. How about going online with Borders beta

    http://beta.bordersstores.com/online/store/Home

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